Monday, November 30, 2015

Blog Tour & Review :: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Title: The Golden Braid
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Nyree Press (September 2015)

Source: Received from publisher via LitFuse Publicity Group

Buy book: here

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower… 
Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry. 
Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim. 
The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position? 
As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?


What a delightful read! This is my first Melanie Dickerson book and I'm happy to hear that she has five more in the Hagenheim series. 

If you are looking for a sweet love story, fairy-tale retelling of Rapunzel mixed with some Christian fiction, this is perfect for you. The dialogue is witty, the action and adventure is paced well, and the Christian message behind everything isn't too preachy. 

My daughters and I love watching Tangled and when I signed up for this blog tour, I was curious to see what Dickerson's take on this fairy-tale would be. I am happy to say that her take on the story was definitely an original one and still very interesting. Rapunzel's character really spoke to me because she is searching for who she truly is, in a coming-of-age story. I love when people write princesses who are bold and adventurous, versus dainty and weak. Rapunzel is definitely no damsel in distress in this book, but she was still feminine and vulnerable too. 

Mother Gothel was truly evil in this rendition, even more so than in the Disney version, in my opinion. I love the storyline with Rapunzel going against her mother to learn to read. It was a unique take on her relationship with her mother and later, Sir Gerek, who was definitely swoon-worthy, especially once the two of them start to rely more on God's guidance instead of their own.

I also enjoyed that this book felt very much like a historical fiction one with all the references to different time period in Germany. It was fun to learn about the different customs and traditions. 

My only critique is that there times when the book bordered a little too closely to being cheesy at times, or cliched rather, but once I got over that, it was still very enjoyable. 

Looking forward to checking out Dickerson's other titles!

4 out of 5 stars

About the author:

Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Connect with Melanie: websiteTwitter,Facebook, YouTube

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blog Tour & Review :: The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner

Title: The Finishing School
Author: Valerie Woerner 
Publisher: Nyree Press (September 2015)

Source: Received from publisher via LitFuse Publicity Group

Buy book: here

Are you tired of waiting for change to happen in your life? Do you feel stuck, even though you want to live more intentionally?
 In today’s world, our most precious pursuit of a life well lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things: binging on Netflix or ice cream, shopping trips for things we don’t need, bad habits we can’t seem to get a handle on, and so much more. Valerie has been there despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually do it? That’s the challenge.
After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to good use and start actually living it out. You will hear about her journey through victories and plenty of failures and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.


I've been in a funk. Stuck in a rut that is so deep that all I could see was the next step in front of me, but nothing else. Moving aimlessly in the endless routine of day in and day out as a working mother with no relief in sight. 

I think that's why I absolutely adored this book. It's the book that I wish I had written because it was everything that I needed in my life right now. So much of what she wrote in this book resonated with me. Fellow book nerd, knowledge junkie? Check and check! 

I've been following Valerie on Instagram (@valmariepaper) for awhile now. I've always found her posts not only beautiful, but inspirational. I love her prayer journals and have been eyeing them for a long time. There was a period of my life (early in my marriage and pre-kids), when I would diligently keep a prayer journal. It was probably the time of my life when I felt the closest to God. In all honesty, I miss it. I miss Him terribly. This book has inspired me to start a new one again.

What I appreciated about this book is that each chapter was a quick, succinct guide to different areas of your life: joy, friendship, self-control, margin, etc. My favorite guides were to habits, balance, and comparison because they are the current demons that are at the most forefront of my life right now. 

Valerie writes in a way that is totally relatable, real, and at times humorous. It felt like sitting at a coffee shop with a close friend and bonding over common struggles of daily life. I think the Enemy wants nothing more than to make you think that you are alone in your daily trials and tribulations to make you feel isolated and like you're fighting the battles with your own sheer willpower and strength (or weaknesses, rather). It feels validating and refreshing to know that I am not alone and even though my journey and pursuit towards holiness in my walk with Christ will not be perfect, at least I know that I've got God on my side. I really don't think I'll ever be the same after reading this book and I'm thankful that I had the chance to read it through Litfuse. I am looking forward to the next steps in my journey as a Christ-follower, wife, mother, and woman. Thank you Valerie, for writing this book that spoke directly to my heart. 

I zipped through this book a little faster than I would have liked because I didn't have "balance" in my life, but I plan on rereading it again, slower... to savor each chapter and read it more like a devotional. I highly recommend reading this book like a devotional. That way, you have time to let the lessons of each guide sink in. I can also see this being a great book to study together in a study group of women in a bible study/small group environment. 

Lastly, I also appreciated that she also provided free homework worksheets and resources on her website to go deeper with the material. Please check out her website at:

5 out of 5 stars

About the author:

Valerie Woerner is owner of Val Marie Paper. She and her husband, Tyler, live in Louisiana with their daughter, Vivi Mae. The Finishing School is her first book.

Connect with Valerie: websiteTwitterInstagram

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Blog Tour & Review :: Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

Title: Picture Perfect Love
Author: Melissa McClone
Publisher: Zondervan Books (May 2015)

Source: Received from publisher via LitFuse Publicity Group

Buy book: here
About the Book:
When image becomes everything, it's up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren't always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God's plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton's heart still hasn't recovered.

It was me. His younger sister's three words turn Ashton's world upside down. He must ask Jenna's forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

One of the things I liked about the book was the premise of the book. Being a Christian wedding photographer myself, it definitely stood out to me and spoke to me. I also enjoyed that it was a story about redemption and second chances, especially because I like to believe that I am a fan of forgiveness and that people can really change. 

However, the story itself was a little too straightforward for me. Maybe because it was a novella, but I felt like the story was too rushed and the characters were underdeveloped. Consequently, it was challenging to really care about the characters. When Ashton shows up in the story, Jenna almost immediately starts to forgive him even though she spent the last two years piecing her life back together. All it took was him repaying her for the wedding that should have been. He should have done that the moment he called off the wedding and she should have made him! Then, what angered me even more was that Ashton actually needed a "third chance" from Jenna later on in the book! I think Jenna deserved better. 

It's a good thing that God's love is more unconditional than mine because in this story, He obviously changed Jenna's heart and provided her with a spirit of forgiveness, even though I can't really say that I would have done the same thing if I were in her shoes. This story had a lot of potential, but it lacked the depth I was looking for. 

About the author:
Melissa McClone has published more than thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America's RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

Find Melissa online: websiteTwitterFacebook

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#SOL15 Day 24 :: March 24, 2015 :: The One with 100 Club

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

100 Club

I've been a little MIA from SOL from a few days. I started Spring Break and just kind of fell of the face of the Earth. It's been a good thing because I've been able to have some quality family time and even though it kind of bothers me that I can't say that I wrote for EVERY single day of March, I think I needed to unplug completely and now I feel ready to finish the rest of the month.

Friday, March 20, 2015

#SOL15 Day 20 :: March 20, 2015 :: The One with TGIF

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!


Thank God it's Friday. 

Thank God that Spring Break is finally here!

Thank God for my McMillin family that I get to work with each day.

Thank God for my students who challenge me each day, in both good and bad ways.

Thank God for my husband who puts up with his stressed out wife and sees her at her ugliest moments, but loves her nonetheless.

Thank God for my baby girls who give the best cuddles and snuggles that brighten my day.

Thank God for caffeine to pick me up when I have no more energy.

Thank God for Pure Barre to help me de-stress when the day's burdens weigh me down.

Thank God for my Bible Study family who provide fellowship, prayer, and friendship on a weekly basis.

Thank God for longer days, which means more time to play in the backyard and evening walks.

Thank God for my work wifey who always knows when I need a hug.

Thank God for time to replenish my spirit, spend time with family, work on projects, finish some books, and rejuvenate my soul.

Thank God it's Friday.


Thank you God, for everything.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
site design by designer blogs